Thinking on your feet is an intuitive skill. Thinking on someone else's feet? Perhaps a little less natural. The good news is, it doesn't take long to catch the acro yoga buzz.
There's a growing acro yoga community world-wide, and because it's one of the newer, lesser-known styles of yoga, acroyogis are always looking for beginners to play with. Jams (acro yoga play sessions) are often hosted in parks, for free. So beyond being socially rewarding and physically challenging, acro yoga is also economically awesome. Sold? Let's get started!
Well, acroyoga is a partner activity, so you need pals (without foot phobias). In class, students are usually divided into groups of 3. There's the base, who's the person on the ground, and the flyer, who's the person in the air. There's also the spotter, who makes sure the flyer doesn't go flying.
Each person takes turns practicing poses in all three roles. It's encouraged to take on each position with equal amounts of determination and attention, despite that innate human tendency towards picking a preference (I'm an avid flyer; my roommate loves basing... and we still *only slightly begrudgingly* change it up when we practice.) It's all about finding balance.
The things that make acroyoga work are the things that make any other relationship work.
1. Trust your partner.
Simply put, they can feel it if you don't, and it won't work until you both learn to trust each other.
2. Don't fear falling.
You've got a spot. Like driving, no one wants to crash. That said, you're a couple feet off the ground and you're moving pretty slowly. If you do land on your partner, land in a hug. How sweet.
3. It's not personal.
Sometimes the base will drop the flyer. Sometimes their big toe goes into your kidney while trying to balance you in bird pose. They're not trying to hurt you, and you're not trying to mess them up. These things are best dealt with by using objective requests (think: "let's readjust" or a quick and calm "down" when you're not feeling stable basing or flying.)
4. Take things slowly.
This is acro yoga. There's no race to the finish, and bending into shapes is best done with steadiness. Moving faster means less control. Developing a comfortable sense of stability with your partner is key, because flipping off of someone's feet is only fun when you know those feet have got your back.